Indian women wear cow masks to show they are less safe than cattle

Lowenna Waters
Wednesday 30 May 2018 13:30
news
Picture:(Sujatro Ghosh / Instagram )

Is it safer to be a cow or a woman in India? Simply asking the question seems shocking, however, one artist is showing through his new project that it's more valid than ever.

In 2017, 24-year-old self proclaimed feminist, artist and activist Sujatro Ghosh, who is from Calcutta and is currently based in New York, began working on his 'Cow Mask Project', a series of photographs that explore whether women are less safe than cows in India.

India is currently in the grip of an endemic of sexual violence directed towards women and girls. In the last decade, crimes against women have surged more than 80 per cent. Incidents of rape have also risen sharply over the last few years, increasing by 12-15 per cent, according to National Crime Bureau Data.

In recent months, the rape, torture and murder of an eight-year-old girl in the state of Jammu, an 11-year-old in Gujarat and the rape of 16-year-old in Uttar Pradesh have laid bare how India's women are treated.

In contrast, however, in India the cow is seen as a holy animal. It is worshipped by Hindus, although it is eaten by Muslims. Over the same period, there has been a huge surge in violence against religious minorities and low-caste Hindus in the name of protecting cows, reports The Guardian.

Writing on his Instagram, Ghosh explained how his project is investigating this juxtaposition:

My art comes as a form of protest.

In my country Cows are more important than a woman's life with more security. (Reference: Majority of Hindus believe cow as their holy animal and they worship it though Majority of Muslims consume it as a part of their daily meal.)

The debate is never ending "Whether to consume or worship it" but gaining political benefits out of it is wrong. Why not let the people decide what they want to consume.

I will be photographing women from different parts of the society.

I would be more than happy if you reach out to me and want to get photographed or maybe join this form of protest.

Women from across the globe have approached Ghosh to be involved in the project. Each of the models included have their identity kept secret, but a quote from each is included next to the post on his Instagram account because he wanted their voices to be heard.

Below are a selection of the striking images below:

To find out more about Sujatro Ghosh, visit his website.

More: 18 signs we live in a rape culture

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